Friday Files – Trade Secrets

Friday Files – Trade Secrets

Photo credit: Anthony Kennedy photographed in his workroom by Christopher Pearce.

Tell us about you, how did you become an upholsterer?

I began my career in the field of Furnishings from a young age, working on weekends at a family run Traditional Upholstery and Antique restoration business in London.

In 1998 I enrolled at The London Guildhall University to further my theoretical as well as practical knowledge in the field. I completed my studies and obtained a Distinction grade in Traditional and modern Upholstery.

Upon finishing my studies I took off on an adventure through Africa; here I found my other passion: Travel. This led to South East Asia and then onto my new home of Sydney Australia in 2004. In 2007 I went back to London with my now wife Kate where I started my first business. I had four wonderful years working with many of London’s finest antique dealers and private clients. This gave me the confidence when returning to Sydney to start a new business. I am proud to say we have been making and restoring beautiful furniture here since 2011.

What do you find thrilling in your profession?

I enjoy the thrill of a challenge. I have always been passionate about restoring and conserving important antique pieces. I take great pride in my work and when I am entrusted to restore a period piece, I use the finest traditional fillings and materials available and ensure the craftsmanship is to the highest standard I set myself. It thrills me to know that my hand stitched horsehair filled furniture will potentially be used for another century until it is the next person’s turn to upholster. I love seeing past upholsterers work. What lies beneath the fabric is where the real art is. I like to think the next person will see my work and hopefully appreciate it.

The majority of my projects these days are custom made furnishings. I work with many wonderful interior designers and private clients. It is a real thrill to create a piece of furniture that will last for generations to come.

Above: Steve Cordony’s beautiful home and styling. Upholstery by Anthony. Cushions in de Le Cuona “Victoria” col crysta

What is your favourite piece?

That is a tough question! In London I was spoiled with many extremely rare and valuable pieces that now live in Royal palaces in the UAE, Estates in the United States and Historical houses in the UK.

To pick one piece is very hard to do. However, I did have the honour of upholstering the earliest known Australian made sofa. A Sydney based dealer acquired it in Tasmania and it was appraised and verified by many experts in the field. I believe the National gallery acquired it, which is great as it will move around the country from museum to museum and remain within the public’s eye to enjoy. I feel very proud to have put my hand into a very important piece of this nation’s history.

Above: Steve Cordony’s beautiful home and styling. Bedhead upholstered by Anthony in de Le Cuona “Vienna Velvet” col jive

Above: Steve Cordony’s beautiful home and styling. Upholstery by Anthony. Cushions in de Le Cuona “Victoria” col crystal, sofabed upholstered in Destombes King Arthur col naturel.

What is your favourite Boyac product?

There are too many to choose from!

It is always a pleasure to have fabric on my cutting table from de Le Cuona, Bute and Barbara Osorio!

What is the biggest challenge in the industry?

I would say changing the disposable attitude mass production has caused. Furniture should not end up in landfill after a few years of use.

My aim is to make pieces that will last for generations to come, that can be reupholstered to suit changing tastes and styles but remain as a comfortable functional part of somebody’s home.

What is on trend at the moment?

Velvet’s and Boucle’s have dominated the cutting table. I am also really enjoying seeing the traditional decorative trims making a comeback. Bullion Fringes on sofas and chairs in place of skirts, brush fringes, cords and ropes on scatter cushions are really enhancing the decorative touches in my client’s homes.

Pictured Above: Left:Bute- Storr col eggshell. Right: Aloe col Denim Force.

You have moved, tell us more!

Last year we relocated from Sydney to the Southern Highlands of NSW. We have kept our strong client base as well as the interior designers I have built a good working relationship with. This next chapter is an exciting one; we have a shop on the high street of Moss Vale. I will be launching my own range of furnishings and reviving a selection of antique pieces very soon.

I have named the shop Pimlico Road. Why Pimlico Road? It is a road in London that holds some of the finest furniture shops. I thought it a fitting name for the pieces I am going to be making and a nice reference to my home city.

Anthony Kennedy Upholstery
430 Argyle St
Moss Vale 2557
M: 0416042075